In his weekly newsletter, Sen. Bill Stouffer notes that his chamber has passed three of the so-called Fix the Six goals set by Missouri business interests. He doesn't explain why the businesses which will benefit from these bills have yet to start hiring more people:
In the Missouri Senate, we have managed to pass three of the mandates of “Fix the Six.” These include:
FRANCHISE TAXES (Senate Bill 19): Capping the state’s corporate franchise tax and phasing it out over a five-year period. The franchise tax was devised in 1917 as a way to help pay for the First World War. At the same time Missouri started to impose this, the federal income tax came into being — for exactly the same reason. The franchise tax is double taxation and has been unnecessary for almost as long as it has been law. Ending this tax will mean businesses can grow again, plus new businesses will want to move to Missouri.
WORKER’S COMPENSATION (Senate Bill 8): Making changes to Missouri’s workers’ compensation system. For nearly a decade, judges have been scooting around the comp laws and have started to allow bigger awards to folks who sue coworkers and employers. When lawmakers passed tort reform in 2005, we started to make a dent in this. But activist judges continue to skirt the law and make interpretations that do not match what is on the books. We need to change this before it gets so far out of hand that no company will want to do business in Missouri.
FEWER FRIVILOUS LAWSUITS (Senate Bill 188): Changing the Missouri Human Rights Act so that it again mirrors the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. This is a similar situation to what has been happening with workers’ comp. Judges make decisions that add their own interpretation to the law and instruct juries to only look at parts of the law. These cases have been benefitting folks at the same time they have been scaring companies from coming to Missouri. Instead of having only case law, judges would have statutory law, which means there is a clear definition to follow once again.
We will start on the Fiscal Year 2012 Missouri budget after we return from mid-session recess. As in previous years, balancing the budget and getting it to the governor by May 6 will be a large task. Fortunately, smart fiscal policy has kept Missouri’s head above water.
Other issues ahead include considering laws regarding nuclear energy, dog breeding, education reforms and lawsuits against farms. The Legislature will continue to seek input from the public on ways to put Missouri back to work and to also reduce the size of our state’s government.
I have every confidence we will continue to make the tough decisions and hold on to necessary programs that benefit our state and its future.